State govt spends RM1.3 million to increase Covid-19 testing capacity eight-fold

A fresh supply of PCR test reagents has arrived in Kuching which will allow testing capacity to increase from 250 to 2,000 per day.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, March 24: The Sarawak government has taken the initiative to spend RM1.3 million to purchase 20,000 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test reagents to increase its Covid-19 testing capacity from 250 to 2,000 tests per day.

Presently, the only two institutes for medical research (IMR) certified laboratories in Sarawak for Covid-19 are Sarawak General Hospital and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

“By this weekend, SGH and Unimas, the only two IMR certified labs in Sarawak for Covid-19 PCR testing will have the capacity to increase testing from the current 250 tests per day to 2,000 tests per day,” disclosed Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian via a post on social media today.

He added, social distancing and PCR testing are the two proven successful measures to prevent Covid-19 outbreak.

He pointed out that health matters are under the federal government but in view of the urgency to curb the spread of Covid-19, the Sarawak government did not mind to cut the red tape and chip in directly to buy the much needed PCR test reagents.

Meanwhile, Dr Sim also announced a RM2 million donation from WTK Group of Companies (WTK) to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) as the group’s contribution to fight Covid-19.

The cheque for RM2 million was presented to Disaster Management Committee chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas by WTK’s accountant Liu Chee Kwong.

Seen are (from left) Dr Sim, Liu and Uggah during the cheque handover.

Dr Sim expressed gratitude to WTK on behalf of the government .

“Thank you very much to YBhg Datuk Seri Patrick Wong and Datuk Wong Kie Yik of WTK Group of Companies for donating RM2 million to help fight Covid-19 in Sarawak.

“(I am) proud that in a crisis like now, our fellow Sarawakians are stepping up and stepping forward without conditions or hesitation as citizens of Sarawak to help the Sarawak government and federal government to fight the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic which requires we pull together unprecedented resources,” Dr Sim asserted.

Following WTK, LONGi (Kuching) Sdn Bhd (LONGi) donated Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) consisting of 97 face shields, 1,600 N95 face masks and 2,000 3M N95 (carbon) face masks to frontliners who are taking care of Covid-19 patients.

LONGi personnel (centre) handing over personal protection equipment to ACP Abang Ahmad Abang Julai (right) who is representing SDMC.

Dr Sim revealed some of the PPE have been delivered to SGH while others will be distributed to medical personnel in other hospitals.

“SDMC will help to coordinate and distribute (time like this, (we) need to share based on needs) all the donations to the other three Covid-19 designated hospitals in Sibu, Bintulu and Miri as well,” he added. — DayakDaily